Lorius lory Linnaeus, 1758

black-capped lory                   

Subspecies and Distribution:

Lorius lory lory (Linnaeus, 1758) – W Papuan Island (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, Misool) and Vogelkop Peninsula, in NW New Guinea.

Lorius lory erythrothorax (Salvadori, 1877) – from W New Guinea (Bomberai Peninsula) E throughout S half of the island (except where replaced by somu), and E from Huon Peninsula, to SE lowlands.

Lorius lory somu (Diamond, 1967) – SC New Guinea, on S side of mountain ranges, between Fly River and Purari River.

Lorius lory cyanauchen (S. Müller, 1841) – Biak Island, in N Geelvink Bay (NW New Guinea).

Lorius lory jobiensis (A. B. Meyer, 1874) – Yapen Island and Mios Num Island, in NC Geelvink Bay.

Lorius lory salvadorii (A. B. Meyer, 1891) – NE New Guinea from Aitape area to Astrolabe Bay.

Lorius lory viridicrissalis (de Beaufort, 1909) – N New Guinea from Mamberamo R to Yos Sudarso Bay (on C part of N coast).


Not globally threatened. CITES II. Least Concern.

According to IUCN is the population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

However this is a very populair species, and still being trapped, for then Asian markets.

Also some confiscated birds have being released in to the wild, but not all subspecies in the right place, which bring the purity of the wild birds in danger, by mixing them with other subspecies.

There are 3 subspecies who have red underwing coverts.

  • Lorius lory lory
  • Lorius lory erythrothorax
  • Lorius lory somu

And there are 4 subspecies who have darkblue / black underwing coverts.

  • Lorius lory cyanauchen
  • Lorius lory jobiensis
  • Lorius lory viridicrissalis
  • Lorius lory salvadorii

Lorius lory lory

black-capped lory or blue-breasted black-capped lory


  • Length: 29-31 cm ( 11,4 - 12,2 inch)
  • Weight: 220-250 g.

Forehead, crown and nape are black.

The rest of the head is red, which go to the back and separate the black from the nape, and the mantle. In most birds, this small line is bleached out to a shade of pink.

A broad collar of dark blue connect to the darkblue from the chest, belly, underparts, thighs and undertail feathers. Also the mantle is darkblue, who is separated with a tine red line from the collar sometimes the red line is not complete and the blue collar and blue mantle is connected.

Also the blue from the chest can vary from very dark blue till dark blue.

The shade of blue is brighter more violet on the lower abdomen, ventral area, undertail coverts and thighs.

The rump and uppertail coverts are red.

The wings are green, with a bronze patch on the primary coverts.

Underwing coverts are red and there is a broad band of yellow across the underside of the flight feathers.

The tail is red above at the base, the rest dark blue.

The underside of the tail greyish- yellow.

Beak is orange.

The iris orange, with a narrow inner ring of yellow.

Cere, skin around the eye and feet are dark grey.


The red can go to the chest, which doesn't mean it's a hybrid or subspecies. As long as the collar connect to the belly (not mixed with red and blue) it still can be a pure Lorius lory lory. We see this in the more larger birds which probably belong to the Lorius lory major, but as they are not living in a separated area they belong now to the nominate.

Key Indentification:

  • The darkblue from the belly must connect to the nape, this is the only subspecies who is connected the nape with the belly.
  • Red underwing coverts.

There are a lot of hybrids out there which does not always make it easy to indentify, I will write later about this part.

Also young birds can look like the erythrothorax or have some blue in the underwing coverts, this doesn't mean there is some other subspecies in it.

Always look at the parents, to see if they are pure or not!


I have seen some in Asia, but elsewhere none.

A (possible) cinnamon mutation is being catched in the wild. Which you can see in the pictures.

I also have seen many with yellow feathers, not 100% sure if it's a mutation or health problem, but possible a pied mutation. I also have seen these yellow feathers in other subspecies of the blackcap.

I also have seen a picture of a black eyed clear, which was also a chained bird, so probably someones pet, and no breeding with it. Which turn the black the creme white on the head, the wings creme - yellow, thighs and underparts white, belly and chest white with red mixed. Feet are still darkgrey. Not sure if it was the nominate or another subspecies, or mix.


Very regulary we see a marroon colored bird, which change the green, yellow and blue parts to a dark-red colour (maroon). As this happen at later age mostly adult we don't can it a mutation as they are born normal. Mostly males got this problem, but sometimes females also can change, and even immature females. It is probably something hormonal, but does not affect any problem with breeding. This is very common in all lorius species. You can see a picture when you scroll down to the Lorius l. erythrothorax. Also in the video is 1 bird started to change colour.


Common, and good breeding results. (however not all are pure.)


7-8 mm

Lorius lory erythrothorax

red-breasted black-capped lory


  • Length: 28-29 cm ( 11 - 11,4 inch)
  • Weight: 200-230 gram.

Blue comes halfway up belly. Blue nape,  blue mantle in two bands.

Red underwing coverts.


Common and also good breeding results. (But also not all are pure).


7 - 8 mm

Lorius lory somu

somu black-capped lory


  • Length: 28 cm ( 11 inch).

Red mantle and nape, the only subspecies without a dark- blue collar.

Blue only low on belly.

Red underwing coverts.


not in aviculture, a maybe very few are in Asia, not sure if they are pure.

Lorius lory cyanauchen

Biak black-capped lory


  • Length: 31 cm (12,2 inch)

Black of cap meets blue of nape.

Blue underwing coverts.


none in Europe, only 1 known bird was imported in Canada, maybe a few in Asia.

Lorius lory jobiensis

jobi black-capped lory


  • Length: 31 cm (12,2 inch)
  •  Weight: 210-250 gram

Like salvadorii but paler (pink) breast and mantle bands.

Blue underwing coverts.


Only a few where imported, maybe a few birds left, but no breeding no more, maybe some have being crossed with the salvadorii.


6 - 6,5 mm

Lorius lory salvadorii

salvadori black-capped lory


  • Length: 28-30 cm (11 - 11,8 inch)
  • Weight: 200-240 gram.

Like erythrothorax but with dark blue underwing coverts.


rare, but some good breeding results with it so hopefully it will not being lost.


7 - 8 mm

Lorius lory viridicrissalis

Beaufort's black-capped lory


  • Length: 29-30 cm (11,4 - 11,8 inch)
  • Weight: 210-240 gram

Like salvadorii but blue is blacker everywhere.

Very dark blue almost black underwing coverts. Males are blacker under the wing the females.

A very doubtfull subspecies, variation in the same subspecies is possible. So probably viridicrissalis is salvadorii.


lf they are in captivity they are all mixed with salvadorii. (if it is really a subspecies anyway, but I don't think it is.)

Skins in museum.

Skin in museum video

Skin in museum video

Skin in museum

Skin in museum

Skin in museum


7 - 8 mm


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